Visual CWR Validator - What we have learned from uploaded files

In December 2017, we have released Visual CWR Validator, a tool that makes a CWR file much more readable and points out most of the errors. It also modifies the file slightly. It was later extended with a CWR Repair Tool, a tool that can fix most common issues in CWR files.


We have seen very different attempts on CWR, coming from various sources, ranging from major publishers, sub-publishers, through various SaaS vendors to small publishers trying to create a working CWR file to be sent to a sub-publisher.

And, of course, there were some acknowledgement files, as well as a couple of CWR-light files.

Uploads came from North and South America, Europe and Asia.

Of course, there were also a lot of files created by two of our free tools, EBR to CWR converter and Minimal Registration, although not nearly as much as one would expect, as both tools give good guidance to what a valid file looks like to those who are struggling with formatting.

While it is hard to say what a valid CWR file is, we have most certainly seen very little of them. Most of the issues can be divided into issues with formatting, usually occurring often throughout a file, and issues due to bad data, which usually affects only a small percentage of transactions (works).

Major publishers usually come close, with just an occasional error due to bad data. They have been setting standards what is acceptable to societies for years, so ‘close’ is good enough.

Acknowledgement files from societies usually do not come even close to being valid. Except if you think, as most societies do, that they are valid by default.

CWR files coming from a widely used desktop software are also in the ‘close enough’ zone, although it really depends on the validity of data. We have yet to see a file that is ‘close enough’ to being valid from any SaaS that sells ‘CWR registrations’, even if it is one of the most advertised features. I will be more than happy to change modify this article the moment we see one.

UPDATE: Few weeks after the article was published, an acknowledgement file was uploaded to the validator. The sender is one of the mechanical rights organizations, and the receiving party is a music publishing administrator and collecting service. While it contains some issues, we believe they were caused by the sender, and included data from original registrations look very nice and it does not seem it was created in any publicly available commercial tool we have encountered.


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